I drive a lot so I’m a big fan of podcasts and audiobooks. Right now my favorite is the Cracked Podcast, because it combines all of my favorite things into one discreet package: humor, pop culture criticism, and an attitude of curiosity when it comes to the “common sense truths” and institutions that we all take for granted.
This week’s podcast (“The Economics of Brainwashing“) is about a subject that is dear to my heart: gamification and the purposeful designing of consumer addiction. I won’t spoil too much of the podcast because I want to encourage you to listen for yourself. But suffice it to say that Cracked editor-in-chief Jack O’Brien hits the nail on the head when he describes the rise of pay-to-play games as a “cheat code” to capitalism. He and his guest, Jason Pargin also indirectly describe the essence of playbor when they talk about how our most popular sources of fun and diversion are designed to facilitate our exploitation as workers (by simultaneously pacifying us and providing us with a Skinner-box style incentive to keep on working so we can keep on feeding our entertainment addictions), not to help us escape from them.
If that sounds a little heavy, know that the podcast also features plenty of laughs.
Go check it out! And if you like it, there is plenty of great content on Cracked.com on video games and gaming culture as well.